(Not sure why the person who designed this put a Weimaraner on the card instead of a Pit, but it's cute nonetheless!)
This morning I woke up early and decided to take Macy to the park for a nice walk before the rain sets in today. Since I have three dogs, I like to divide my free time up when I have the chance so that I can take each dog out individually to the park or to run errands with me for some one on one time and training. This morning was Macy's turn! While Macy and I were walking, a passing woman paused and made the comment "Oh my God that dog looks so ferocious!" (Mind you that Macy was walking in perfect Heel position at my side, had relaxed body language, a happy tail and a "smile" on her face.) The woman simply deemed Macy as "ferocious" because Macy is a large, black, Pit Bull mix. OH Breed Stereotypes...how accustom I have become to thee!
I wanted to use the opportunity to change the lady's mind about her uncalled for stereotyping. As an owner/handler, it is my responsibility to be a good advocate for the breed(s) I own and care for. If you are reading my blog post and you're a dog owner as well, I hope you will use this lesson as an opportunity to become the best advocate for the animal you own, regardless of their breed. My hope is to make a positive impact on my community and to educate people on the responsibilities that go along with being a good pet owner as well as member of the public (you'd be surprised how many ADULTS do not know how to approach a dog properly and safely). Having owned, rescued, and fostered numerous breeds over the years, I am a firm believer that EVERY dog has the potential to be a great dog! One of the biggest determining factors of a dogs behavior is responsible pet ownership and training.
Since the lady had taken the time to pause and make a comment (vs running far away from my dog), her reaction and body language told me that she might be receptive to what I had to say, so I took the opportunity to talk to her. I proceeded to tell her about how Pit Bulls and mixes can be wonderful dogs, just like any other breed. I told her how Macy had passed numerous training classes and even earned the highest points in the last Advanced Obedience class she was in. I let her know how Macy has two other "siblings" at home that Macy helps me work with (One is a registered therapy dog and the other is in training to become one). I went on to tell her how Macy greets everyone she meets with a happy tail and a kiss (which the lady could clearly see was the case). When the lady asked me how Macy had come to live with me, I told her about Macy's adoption story. (Macy spent over 2.5 yrs living at the Humane Society before I adopted her. Nobody wanted a Pit mix, and nobody wanted a dog that was in heart failure.). The lady then asked if she could pet Macy, to which I replied by putting Macy in a sit stay and then showing the lady the proper way to pet a dog (yes, there is a proper way!). Macy happily greeted the lady with kisses and a very happy tail which put a smile on the once fearful woman's face. The lady then thanked Macy and I for taking the time to talk with her today and to change her mind about Pit Bulls (and mixes). Macy is a happy, well-adjusted, socialized, and properly trained dog; today we were able to use that to our advantage in a positive light!
Once again, my Macy girl has taken yet another bite out of outlandish breed stereotypes and converted another person to see the true beauty that can lie in every breed! Way to go, Macy!
(Macy is on the right; ferocious? I think not!)